OTL Releasing | Release Date: August 30, 2019
5.6
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Mixed or average reviews based on 7 Ratings
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5
LamontRaymondSep 10, 2019
This movie got 3 winks from me. Yes, I fell asleep more than once, but it was fairly interesting while I was awake. However, it's completely predictable. And the plot convention (communicating with someone on a different timely) has beenThis movie got 3 winks from me. Yes, I fell asleep more than once, but it was fairly interesting while I was awake. However, it's completely predictable. And the plot convention (communicating with someone on a different timely) has been done so much more thoughtfully in other projects. The two leads are fantastic, though. Expand
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4
CityOfGeekAug 30, 2019
Don’t Let Go is a frustrating film. It has a solid premise and a stable of consistently reliable actors, yet fails to use its seed of an idea to sprout more than a sapling of a film. In the post-show discussion of the six citizens of City ofDon’t Let Go is a frustrating film. It has a solid premise and a stable of consistently reliable actors, yet fails to use its seed of an idea to sprout more than a sapling of a film. In the post-show discussion of the six citizens of City of Geek present – the standard four of us and two friends – we came up with several far more interesting ways to use the set-up than the film itself did. That’s why we found the Jacob Aaron Estes written and directed sci-fi/horror/thriller to be so frustrating. Don’t Let Go doesn’t allow itself to dig into a great idea in any sort of more-than-basic way.


A solid conceit, Frequency with more pressing force of action; a little more mystery. Not much more mystery, however. There is the central mystery of who committed the murder and why, yet it’s easily solved. (The mystery of why this is happening is never even questioned, but that’s a plus) I’ve seen enough similar thrillers even without the sci-fi aspect to immediately figure out the entirety of the plot as soon as the murders occur. It wasn’t just me. All six of us, including the sixteen year-old, latched onto the truth. Knowing where the plot is going to go can be fine if done well or the filmmakers are aware of the obvious conclusion. Ari Aster’s Midsommar did this very well earlier this sommar, er summer. Aster knew we all knew the conclusion, so led us along in how it is to happen. Don’t Let Go doesn’t realize how obvious it is, thus the frustrating aspect of the audience knowing where the story is going long before the characters, dragging us along as we wait. Don’t Let Go leans on the idea as a base only, rather than exploring it. This issue ripples through the film, affecting it just as Reid’s actions alter her uncle’s future. By taking the time to move the plot along, it doesn’t allow the clever aspects the audience is filling in for the idea. There is a major scene, the tipping point for the two leads, where they both are finally on the same page over what’s happening. This occurs at the hour point. I feel this would have better served the story if it occurred thirty minutes previously. After this happens, the film is forced to run headlong into the climax. It is here where an often awkward but interesting moving chugging along by good performances and concept falls flat on its face, devolving into a series of silly set pieces and moments.

By moving this reveal – one we all know, there could be more scenes of both of the leads working together to solve the murders in the two time-lines. When this did happen a few times, the film worked. It was wonderful to see two people on different times affect one another. Other ideas are brought up – including the possibility to go Groundhog Day or Happy Death Day with it, but only used once. The string is presented, but barely pulled. Wish Upon from two years previous did the same. With these moments, one can see where the film could go into a much more interesting track, but then restrains itself. Frustrating. Run with it! If it’s done well, the audience will join you. If done awful, they still might (Serenity), but just don’t let it sit there and fester. David Oyelowo and Storm Reid help keep the film from fully sinking. Both give committed, solid performances. It’s good to see Oyelowo again, after marching onto the scene four years ago in Selma, he’s not really been seen (although heard in Star Wars Rebels. Storm Reid is a fine actress, doing as best she can to elevate this and the disastrous Wrinkle in Time (also featuring the voice of Oyelowo). They have a solid connection, connecting first in person and later across phone calls. Unfortunately, Alfred Molina phones it in with a very awkward performances. But oh Bowie, Mykelti Williamson is just awful as Oyelowo’s best friend and police partner Bobby. Every line reading is really off from everyone else, forced through in incredibly awkward and often comical performance. Someone teach this man how to hold a gun! Each time he does so it’s nearly like the inept cops in Plan Nine from Outer Space; holding limp-wristed or even aiming at his own chest and face. This makes an already inane performance ridiculous.

Don’t Let Go is a waste of a compelling premise. The leads make an attempt but they can’t save the film from sinking itself by failing to lean into the idea. Your head version of the story likely has better twists, turns, and a less obvious mystery. It starts alright, even if a few moments don’t quite land, but in the last forty minutes becomes a preposterous comedy. It’s not really worth your time. Frequency is, if you haven’t seen that.

D
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